Nuggets Stun Clippers to Complete Comeback and Advance to West Finals
Denver will face-off against the top-seeded Lakers starting Friday
After rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Utah in Game 7 in the first round, the Denver Nuggets become to first team in NBA history to complete that feat twice in the same postseason when they shocked the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in Game 7 of the second round.
Jamal Murray scored 40 points for Denver and Nikola Jokić had a triple-double by the third quarter as the Nuggets outscored LA 50-28 over the final 22 minutes and 50 seconds of the game. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were invisible down the stretch for the Clippers and finished a combined 10-of-38 for just 24 points (including zero in the fourth quarter).
Clippers coach Doc Rivers now has eight Game 7 losses (no other coach has more than five) and the most blown 3-1 series leads (three) in NBA history.
“I’m the coach and I’ll take any blame for it. But we didn’t meet our expectations, clearly,” Rivers said.
Thanks to the win, the Nuggets will advance to the Western Conference finals to take on the Lakers while the Clippers will head home, having failed to force a “Hallway Series” against their LA rivals.
Third-seeded Denver will face-off against the top-seeded Lakers starting Friday.
In Tuesday’s other game, Bam Adebayo of the Heat stuffed Jayson Tatum of the Celtics at the rim to help Miami preserve a lead in overtime in a game his team went on to win 117-114.
Tatum’s dunk would have tied the game in OT with just a few seconds left, but Adebayo’s block and subsequent free throw helped Miami hold on for the three-point win. In the extra period, Jimmy Butler’s three-point play with 12 seconds left put Miami ahead for good, but he gave all the credit to his teammate after the game.
“Bam. That seals the game for us,” Butler said. “I love how he does any and everything that you ask him to do. I really do. You ask him to pass the ball, he does that. Score, he does that. Come up with a huge defensive stop, block, he does that. He’s a huge part to our winning. I’ve been saying it all year long and I’ll repeat it again.”
Butler had 20 points, Jae Crowder had 22, Goran Dragić had 29 and Adebayo had 18 for the Heat, while Tatum had 30 and Marcus Smart had 26 for the Celtics.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals is Thursday.
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